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Massive costs of managing UK’s dead nuclear submarines

Times 3rd April 2019 Delaying the disposal of the Royal Navy’s retired submarine fleet has
cost the taxpayer £900 million, according to the Whitehall spending
watchdog. None of the 20 submarines that have left service since 1980 has
been fully defuelled or dismantled.
They include HMS Conqueror, which sank
the General Belgrano in the Falklands conflict in 1982, and the four
Polaris vessels that carried Britain’s nuclear deterrent until the
A National Audit Office report published today says that while
it is expensive to scrap the submarines, at £96 million per boat, delaying
the disposal programme is also costly, adding £900 million to the total
bill so far. Each decommissioned submarine costs £12 million a year to
store and maintain.
Meg Hillier, chairman of the Commons public accounts
committee, heaped scorn on the “dismal lack of progress” and
“spiralling costs”. She told the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to “get a
grip urgently before we run out of space to store and maintain submarines
and we damage our reputation as a responsible nuclear power”.
The budget
for the programme to dismantle retired submarines and remove their
radioactive parts has soared by £800 million, or 50 per cent, due to a
15-year delay in rolling out a tested approach. In addition, the 11-year
delay in the project to remove irradiated fuel from the nine retired
nuclear submarines has seen the budget rise by £100 million, or 57 per
cent. Regulators halted the defuelling of submarines in 2004 after
government facilities failed to meet required standards. The process is not
due to start again until 2023.
The bill for maintaining and disposing of
the navy’s 20 stored and 10 serving submarines stands at £7.5 billion
over the next 120 years, the time needed to deal with the nuclear waste.

April 4, 2019 - Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war

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